Two Trains Collide on Alton Towers’ “Smiler”
According to the United Kingdom’s Sky News, Around 2:00pm local time (9:00am EDT), four teenagers were seriously injured after two trains on The Smiler roller coaster at Alton Towers collided.
According to the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), there were 16 people riding in one train that collided with an empty stationary train. It is yet to be confirmed whether or not all of the riders have been successfully evacuated from The Smiler.
Big accident at Alton Towers, one train from The Smiler crashed into the other… Judging from what I saw it will be on the news soon!
— Danny Simm (@DannySimm) June 2, 2015
Lloyd Coller, who was visiting Alton Towers for the day, told Sky News: “I didn’t actually see it but I heard it. It sounded exactly like a car crash – just metal on metal.”
According to Lance Hart of Screamscape, “Apparently the ride went down for some kind of issue and the crew sent out the empty car first, and followed it with the one loaded with guests, unaware that the empty train had stalled or valleyed somewhere on the course. Normally all coasters have a series of sensors and blocking zones to prevent this kind of thing from happening, so somewhere in the system, the automated safety blocks failed.”
In a statement, Alton Towers said: “There has been an incident on the Smiler this afternoon involving two carriages coming together on a low section of the track. One of the carriages was empty and the other had 16 guests in.
— Helen Critchley (@princesshelen15) June 2, 2015
“The resort’s fully qualified first responders were on the scene immediately to assist with the evacuation which is ongoing, and the area has been closed to allow for access to emergency services vehicles.
“To ensure the safe and timely evacuation of guests, a platform is being constructed. This will take a few minutes but will enable us to proceed more quickly.
“There will be a full investigation once we have recovered the guests, who are our priority.”
— BREAKING.UK (@BreakingDotUK) June 2, 2015
Originally open in 2013, The Smiler is a Gerstlauer creation, and currently holds the record for most inversions on a roller coaster with 14. It can travel at top speeds of 53mph, and its highest drop is 98ft. In total, the 3,838ft ride lasts for nearly three minutes.
According to Sky News, this appears to be the seventh incident since The Smiler opened to the public which has led to The Smiler being closed for repairs, reviews or accidents.
— Jordan Firth (@jordanfirth_) June 2, 2015
Information and quotes from Sky News were used in this posting.
This post will be updated with more information as it becomes available.